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Seminarians of Saint Sophia Seminary Learn About the Ancient Tradition of Pysanky (Ukrainian Easter Eggs)

By Fr. Vasyl and Dobrodijka Oksana Pasakas, and Subdeacons Ioan Mazur, Adrian Mazur, Ivan Chopko and Yurii Andreiko

In anticipation of the Resurrection of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the seminarians of Saint Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary of the UOC of the USA gathered together on Friday evenings after the Liturgy of Presanctified Gifts to learn about the tradition of pysanky. They were very enthusiastic to learn more about pysanky and take some time off from their studying.

After the movie we prepared everything to start writing pysanky. Old newspapers were laid out with all the necessary supplies: eggs, kistky, beesewax, candles and dyes. The dyes were arranged from light to dark in the dying process. The basic four colors were yellow, orange, red and black but we had the option to use all nine prepared colors. We took the prepared raw eggs and drew our designs first with pencils then began writing our designs using the beeswax covering our planned designs, dying our eggs one color at a time. Pysanky are created using a wax-resist method; the designs are not painted on but are written on with wax which repels the prepared chemical dyes when the egg is submerged in the dye. 

Dobrodijka Oksana Pasakas gave a brief explanation about the tradition of creating pysanky, the symbols used, and the process of creating them. After this explanation, we began to choose our own designs and symbols, creating our own or copying traditional designs from examples in books or handouts that were given to us during the lesson. Our first couple of lines drawn on with the kistky were slow, but we eventually turned our lines into tremendous works of art.  It was not a quick and easy process, all of our plans were to be thought out and calculated as we had to consider what colors we would use and when to cover with wax so that our pysanky would turn out perfectly and could beautify our Pascha baskets.

In the end we all had the wonderful opportunity to experience one of the oldest pre-Christian (and now Christian) traditions from Ukraine and at the same time we learned how to create pysanky!

We all wish you a Blessed Pascha full of joy and happiness!

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